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July 28, 2014

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Bonanza grad two shots off lead at PGA charity tourney

Justin Timberlake Pro-Am Tournament

Comedian George Lopez, right, messes with Oscar De La Hoya as he tries to putt on the 18th green during the pro-am portion of the 2009 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open golf tournament Wednesday, Oct. 14.
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After every couple holes, Scott Piercy would take out his cell phone and get an update on his wife.

Piercy tried to focus on golf in the opening round of the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open at TPC at Summerlin Thursday, but he found it a little difficult with his wife due to give birth at any moment.

Despite the distraction, the Las Vegas native and Bonanza High graduate shot 7-under 64 to enter the second round two shots from the lead in the tournament and tied for sixth place.

“I called my wife right when I was done and she said, ‘You really don’t want to see this baby come right now, do you?’” Piercy said.

Piercy said if his wife goes into labor during the tournament, he will let her decide if he should play or bolt for the hospital.

In the meantime, he’s focused on trying to become the first local player to win Las Vegas’ PGA Tour event.

“Having a baby at any time, being in front of my hometown, home golf course, it would be pretty sweet,” Piercy said.

If the first day was any indication, Piercy will have some fierce competition. All three co-leaders — Tom Pernice, Jr., Troy Matteson and Spencer Levin — flirted with a first-round course record.

They all finished one shot away from the record, however, with a 9-under-62.

Pernice birdied five of his first six holes and finished the day with nine birdies. It’s only the second time the 26-year veteran has led a tournament after the first round.

“I got off to a good start, which was nice, and just continued on really throughout the round,” Pernice said.

Matteson, who won the Las Vegas tournament in 2006, appeared to be in ideal position to take the lead outright going into the final two holes. But he recorded his first bogey of the day on the 17th hole, a 196-yard par three.

Matteson had a tricky six- or seven-foot putt. “If I had 100 rounds on this course, I might have made it but I couldn’t see that much break in it. But it was a good, clean bogey,” he said.

The most notable name high on the leader board is a familiar one. Jim Furyk, who won the Las Vegas PGA event three times in the 1990s and came in second in 2005, finished the day tied with Piercy at 7-under 64.

Furyk stressed the importance of getting off to a fast start on this course.

“It’s difficult,” Furyk said. “You feel like if you don’t shoot 5-under here, you are going to get — in this type of weather — passed up by a lot of people.”

Most of the golfers described Thursday’s weather conditions as perfect. The temperature stayed in the 80s for most of the day and there was hardly any interference from the wind.

Weather forecasts call for calm conditions throughout the weekend. Piercy said he will feel confident if he can stick around for the weekend.

“There have been a lot of good things going on,” Piercy said. “For me, I usually make a lot of birdies. So if I can start taking away the bogeys, I’ll have a chance.”

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